For many of us, buying new furniture can be a little too costly….and so we ask our parents for their old hand-me-downs, or hit garage sales in order to find some seating arrangements that can make our living rooms look complete. It isn’t hard to find furniture, especially couches and single sofas or even comfy chairs that are made of solid wooden construction and still have a few good years left in them. However, what is problematic is to find one that has stain-free upholstery! After all, the biggest reason most people change their furniture is because it’s started to look ‘Old’ and ‘Worn out’ and the first signs of that start to show on the upholstery.
Don’t worry…you don’t have to pass up on a sofa that’s the perfect size, built and shape only because the upholstery is wrinkled and wine stained. You simply look for cost effective ways to beautify it, with new upholstery, of course!
From thick solid fabric to pretty floral patterns to shiny geometrical prints, when you want to reupholster old sofas and chairs, you will find a variety of fabrics in the market to choose from. However, not all are right for you. And even though you might think that by choosing a great pattern you have done your job, you will find that giving reupholster material a little more thought than just choosing a pattern will serve you better in the long run.
#1 Think Style
Finding cheap upholstery is not the problem. The problem usually is finding one that is perfectly in sync with your decor, keeping in mind the style statement you want to make. The best way to make a bold statement is to go simple – choose a colour from the existing palette in the room and then find a plain, simple fabric for upholstering your new (or old!) furniture. This trick always works because it leaves a lot of room for you to showcase your creativity, not to mention it also makes it possible to keep updating your decor with small changes without having to reupholster again. To bring in colour and drama, choose bright colourful cushions and pillows. The look of paisley when coupled with solids is a fool proof way to brighten up your indoors!
#2 Think Fabric
Today you will even find inexpensive upholstery for couches in linen and while it looks real good, it is a fabric that absorbs moisture and also soils and wrinkles every easily and is not suitable for everyday use. However if you have a separate drawing room and family room, it can look quite classy. While a lot of people like wool upholstery, it isn’t such a great fabric for India because even though it is resistant to pilling, fading, wrinkling and soiling, it is too warm a fabric choice for the Indian climate. A better choice can be Ramie fabric because it is known to be one of the strongest natural fibres, is also an eco-friendly alternative and far better than using synthetic fibres or non-organic fibres for your furniture.
However, keep in mind that whatever fabric you choose, it must blend well with the style of furniture because the choice in upholstery can add character to your furniture.
#3 Think Function
Remember that when you want to reupholster a piece of furniture, you need to consider where the furniture is placed. Is the single chair going to be kept outdoors in summers? Is the wooden sofa chair used every single day to watch television and is in fact the only piece of furniture in the room that you sit on every day? If so, you need to choose tightly woven, durable fabric and cannot choose a light weight, cheaper upholstery material if you want it to last long and not look worn out by the end of the year. Also, if you have a busy family with some kids and happy dogs, you might want to take in to consideration the maintenance of the upholstery fabric you choose. Light colours like beige, whites and light shades of grey can look very sophisticated… but how great can they look when they have dirty wine stains and muddy paw prints on them? Not very much! Thinking of the function of your furniture is very important because it can help you not only select fabric and weave, but also the colours, so that your furniture is fuss-free and doesn’t require you to spend your weekend’s vacuuming and trying to remove stains all day long.
#4 Think durability
Another thing to always remember is that while some fabrics have a longer life because they have a high abrasion factor and a tight weave pattern, others don’t because they are lightweight and wear out easily with everyday use. It goes without saying that the former is also more expensive, and your budget will decide to some extent what fabrics you can choose to reupholster your furniture. Cotton is easy to clean and durable; this is a natural fibre and if kept away from direct sunlight it will be long lasting and is also resistant to pilling and fading, though it is very prone to wrinkling and soiling. So, it might be a better choice to pick a cotton blend if you have pets and small children which makes stains on your couch unavoidable. Leather is a very popular choice for both chairs and couches because it is tough, easy to clean, doesn’t stain while it also adds character to your furniture. Real leather develops with age and also becomes softer, while for a more cost effective option you can choose leatherette.
So there you have it – 4 rules to choose your furniture upholstery for that perfect looking couch!
Remember, from floral patterns to solid colours to fancy geometrical prints, each upholstery design will have a different visual impact on your room decor. But the trick to furniture that gives you more value for money is to not just concentrate on the pattern but also the fabric. The material will decide how much maintenance and cleaning the fabric will require and how easy it will be to clean your furniture without professional help. If you do choose leather, make sure the furniture is not exposed to direct sunlight, or the material will fade soon. Also, any cotton upholstery that is used a lot will wear out much faster than a tougher thicker fabric.